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International Space Station researcher guides aim to maximize science
Date:7/21/2014

other sources, or find a partnership to develop full proposals within the future."

As the books point out, the unique factors of the space environment create fertile grounds for scientific investigation. By removing a variable that is essentially a constant on the Earth--gravity--researchers increase the chances of discovery. They also have factors such as exposure to radiation, extreme temperatures, the vacuum of space and atomic oxygen to add to the mix. The station provides a platform with a 51 degree inclination that orbits the Earth every 90 minutes, which may appeal to those interested in Earth remote sensing.

"We decided to put ourselves in the position of a researcher who may not be aware of the benefits of research in microgravity and considered the questions they might ask," said Rai. "We want researchers to be aware that humankind has never before had a laboratory where the variable of gravity could be controlled and now they do for at least ten more years. The space station is currently approved to fly until 2024 affording us a decade to continue experiments in microgravity by offering scientists and engineers opportunities to further explore, make scientific discoveries and support the commercial use of space."

What this means for researchers, who can find the books online here, depends on their area of focus. For those interested in external instruments, the station can offer improved spatial resolution and varied times of day for capturing data. This could fill in the gaps for satellite instruments, which are on a different, sun-synchronous orbit from that of the station. For those measuring how a material may stand up to harsh conditions, you have quite the mix of elements to expose that sample to by mounting it externally. And with flames that burn as spheres, fluids that fill containers based on the shape of the vessel, and bacteria and viruses that may behave differently in space, there's much to explore and discover. R
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Contact: Laura Niles
Laura.E.Niles@nasa.gov
281-244-7069
NASA/Johnson Space Center
Source:Eurekalert  

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